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Best Running Shoes of 2018 Reviewed

last updated Jan 11, 2019

Some of us, we love to run. And for the runner, there is nothing like a stable pair which brings comfort and can help us even improve our stride and time. After all, every second does count in a race. For the rest of us, well, we deserve the best, too. Even if we are performing our passion with our pastime, as a pleasure for the love of the game, or are entering a new and exciting exercise regimen, we want the items on this list. No doubt about it.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research

icon
Brooks Ghost 11
95.6/100 our score
Style
93
Features
97
Overall Fit
95
Effectiveness
96
Value
97
Brooks Ghost 11
Why is it better?

Lightweight Construction

12-millimeter Drop

Heel Crash Pad

DNA Cushioning

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Brooks Ghost 11
Test Winner: Brooks Ghost 11
Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
792
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
5
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Style Features Overall Fit Effectiveness Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Style
93%
Features
97%
Overall Fit
95%
Effectiveness
96%
Value
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$119.49
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Style
90%
Features
93%
Overall Fit
91%
Effectiveness
98%
Value
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$212.01
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Style
88%
Features
94%
Overall Fit
91%
Effectiveness
90%
Value
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$150.00
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Style
88%
Features
84%
Overall Fit
90%
Effectiveness
91%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$86.99
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Style
81%
Features
84%
Overall Fit
86%
Effectiveness
91%
Value
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$149.95
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Style
77%
Features
80%
Overall Fit
78%
Effectiveness
85%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$159.95
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.6
Style
75%
Features
72%
Overall Fit
73%
Effectiveness
75%
Value
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$48.87
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72.4
Style
75%
Features
70%
Overall Fit
71%
Effectiveness
76%
Value
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$129.95
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70.4
Style
76%
Features
70%
Overall Fit
72%
Effectiveness
65%
Value
69%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$81.92
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
68.2
Style
62%
Features
73%
Overall Fit
70%
Effectiveness
65%
Value
71%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$129.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Brooks Ghost 11
  • Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo
  • Brooks Glycerin 16
  • Brooks Transcend 5
  • New Balance 1080v9
  • Asics Gel-Kayano 25
  • Asics Gel-Excite 5
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
  • Adidas Alphabounce Beyond
  • Nike Odyssey React Shield
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Brooks Ghost 11

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Brooks Ghost 11
Style
93
Features
97
Overall Fit
95
Effectiveness
96
Value
97
best offer for today
$119.49
Pros:

Lightweight Construction

12-millimeter Drop

Heel Crash Pad

DNA Cushioning

Cons:

Best for Neutral Runners

The latest in the line of the Ghost series, Brooks does not disappoint! Distinct in causing the run to feel lighter, this product performs great. Moreover, it houses all of the attributes we desire in long-distance running.

Read more

In addition to its lightweight feel, the name reflects the impact of each step; soft. For those of us, who are unfortunate enough to know firsthand of a terrible impact landing in our footwear, this set is most welcoming.

Next, this is one of those items which allows you to explore that area of cross training prior to entering into a more permanent design specific to the genre. In other words, in addition to road and treadmill work, these can be utilized to explore cross-training elements, as well.

After it is all said and done, we love this product and its features. It performs outstandingly, and does so, with a respective tone of professionalism.

2. Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Turbo
Style
90
Features
93
Overall Fit
91
Effectiveness
98
Value
93
best offer for today
$212.01
Pros:

10-millimeter Drop

Good Energy Return

Lightweight

Built for Speed

Cons:

Minimal Colors

As we grow as runners and after we have perfected our technique, speed becomes more of a top priority. With these, the priority is speed and perfect for those who are graduating to this fine element in the running world.

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With high reflectability, these are in tune to be worn both early morning and late evening. As such, they are perfect for those of us who must work another job in-between hours, so to speak. Furthermore, with training in mind, these help to shave precious seconds during our busy day.

Lightweight and with a design for training, this item performs admirably and reduces fatigue in the process. It is perfect for increasing speed as the ability to run improves.

At the end of the day, we love how these perform in speed. Due to their lightweight feature, they execute well, within this regard. Also, these have a decent amount of energy return and lower fatigue levels, as a result.

3. Brooks Glycerin 16

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Brooks Glycerin 16
Style
88
Features
94
Overall Fit
91
Effectiveness
90
Value
92
best offer for today
$150.00
Pros:

10-millimeter Drop

3D Fit Print Upper

DNA LOFT Cushioning

Plush Build

Cons:

Minimal Arch Support

For those in need of neutral footwear, this is the ticket! Utilizing softness as a means to stabilize, these have a design reminiscent of a bootie. Perfect for road, treadmill, and long-distance training, this is a pair which performs in an applaudable way.

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The technology centers around the concept of softness and furthers this notion with protective cushioning during each subsequent step. In other words, there is less heel impact upon landing.

Ideal for training, this neutral footwear aids in bringing the correct support, accordingly. For those just arriving at the scene in the running world, these can help polish technique.

More for distance than speed, we love the notion of lovingly wrapping our feet with plushness in the design. After all, when it comes to beginner training, comfort as we learn technique is critical to our success.

4. Brooks Transcend 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Brooks Transcend 5
Style
88
Features
84
Overall Fit
90
Effectiveness
91
Value
90
best offer for today
$86.99
Pros:

GuideRails

Disperses Impact Points

Reinforced Stability in Heel

Motion Control

Cons:

Better for Beginners

An absolute delight in the realm of attitude, this item loudly states that we are serious about the run ahead. Whether we are settling in for a joined run or are only out to train as a lone wolf, these personify attitude.

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This is a product with a design best-suited to straight roads and wide curves. The lateral structuring does not allow for sharp turns, especially with repetition in mind. So, if you are in need of an obstacle course styling, this is not it.

Great for beginners, this footwear stabilizes and aids in lessening heel impact. This is a much-needed design for runners just new to the sport.

Overall, we find these to be delightful with the visual aesthetics. The sense of attitude comes into play and serves well as an emotional drive for beginners. More than this, however, performance is on par.

5. New Balance 1080v9

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
New Balance 1080v9
Style
81
Features
84
Overall Fit
86
Effectiveness
91
Value
89
best offer for today
$149.95
Pros:

8-millimeter Drop

Bootie Construction

Ortholite Sockliner

Mesh Upper

Cons:

Better for Beginners

An upgrade from the highly successful version 8 of this series, the 1080v9 focuses in on the primary attribute of providing a soft and comfortable run. Ideal for those new to the exercise, this product aids well in giving us a stable environment for technique learning.

Read more

When it comes to long distances, especially for beginners, the heel strike becomes a major area of concern. With these, however, impact lowers with each strike. In other words, energy is captured and there is a decent return.

Off to the races and into the softness is the centralizing feature of this item. Because of this, the product is inspirational to new and experienced runners alike.

Overall, we love the supportive and natural feel (gait) of the run with these. They are not overly soft as to cause incorrect motion, but are indeed, a go-to source for relieving potential aches and pains for first-time runners.

6. Asics Gel-Kayano 25

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Asics Gel-Kayano 25
Style
77
Features
80
Overall Fit
78
Effectiveness
85
Value
80
best offer for today
$159.95
Pros:

DuoMax Support System

Guidance Trusstic System

Impact Guidance System

FlyteFoam

Cons:

Minimal Arch Support

Vibrant and bright, the colors available reflect the 25th iteration of this monumental product. True to style and technique, this is an item worthy of a second or even a third glance in contemplation. Furthermore, the signature lettering showcases the joys of Asics.

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The style is fantastic with its signature lettering and great breathability. Furthermore, accents overlay in an inviting, yet practical manner. Also, the technology works with the runner; enhancing us to our potential best.

We adore the profile of this item. Its visual aesthetics are nothing less than an artistic explosion on a grand scale. This is enhancement gear at its finest. Moreover, a run in these might have us wondering why we would ever choose another.

For those of us who would rather not sport the brighter side of the color wheel, this lovely item comes in darker shades, as well. Anything from black to grays and shades in between, there is a color for everyone.

7. Asics Gel-Excite 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.6
Asics Gel-Excite 5
Style
75
Features
72
Overall Fit
73
Effectiveness
75
Value
78
best offer for today
$48.87
Pros:

Rearfoot Gel Cushioning

Removable Sockliner

Mid-stance Smooth Transitioning

3M Reflective Detailing

Cons:

Better for Casual Running

Having the same mindset as the Excite 4, this pair of Asics concentrates its functionality to short-distance running. It is not built for speed, but rather, its focal point lies in the realm of remaining comfortable. In addition, these are perfect for those just starting out with running as an exercise routine.

Read more

With an affordable price tag, these become a nice grab for those in need of recovery shoes. Also, beginners who are not ready for long runs can benefit, as well.

There is a sense of staging when we first begin to run, with the first stage belonging to technique and overall distancing. Our distance is short while we work on technique during distance building. These, absolutely, perform well in this area.

For those in need of a long-distance item, this will not suffice. It lacks too many features to make it a healthy choice when running that type of mileage. But for the rest of us, these hold up well.

8. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72.4
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Style
75
Features
70
Overall Fit
71
Effectiveness
76
Value
70
best offer for today
$129.95
Pros:

12-millimeter Drop

3D Fit Print Upper

GuideRails

DNA Cushioning

Cons:

Size Runs Small

For those of who enjoy the road, Brooks brings us the Adrenaline GTS 19. Having a design which centers around long-distance running, this is footwear made to last. Furthermore, we can look and feel great while doing it.

Read more

The overlay striping at the rear to midfoot area works well at strengthening a breathable item. More than this, however, it serves to alert drivers of your presence, with the contrasting color schemes. All but the black/ebony design is great for an evening (prior to sunset) run.

But what about those of us in a situation where we cannot run the roads, as it were? Not to worry! These are perfect for treadmill running, as well. Moreover, the wear-and-tear feature might even benefit from this, as well.

We love the streamlined approach to this product. It is perfect for reducing air resistance. Furthermore, it looks rather good while doing so. More importantly, don’t be surprised if you catch people looking at your feet, instead of you, during your run.

9. Adidas Alphabounce Beyond

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70.4
Adidas Alphabounce Beyond
Style
76
Features
70
Overall Fit
72
Effectiveness
65
Value
69
best offer for today
$81.92
Pros:

Forgedmesh Upper

Textile Lining

10-millimeter Drop

Lace-up Closure

Cons:

Stiff Forefoot Area

For this product, those of us who are not an actual pure runner, so to speak, these are great. They have decent lateral and linear stability, which is perfect for those of us who might find ourselves wandering from the run to a light game of basketball, for example.

Read more

This is not a design for run enthusiasts, so to speak. They are better for casual running, and the performance does reflect this.

The defining feature of this product is give-and-take functionality in the upper. In essence, it carries a nice medium between lateral and linear movement. Unfortunately, however, it is not enough for pure runners.

We do love the versatility in the design for those of us who are not sold as absolute runners. In this, the product does a fine job of considering us. After all, we love to run, too!

10. Nike Odyssey React Shield

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
68.2
Nike Odyssey React Shield
Style
62
Features
73
Overall Fit
70
Effectiveness
65
Value
71
best offer for today
$129.95
Pros:

Water-resistant Upper

Reflective Elements

Toggle Lacing System

Lightweight

Cons:

Poor Visual Aesthetics

The Odyssey React Shield is a design specific to withstanding water conditions. Now, don’t get us wrong, it isn’t exactly ready for mud runs, but it will suffice in conditions when the surface becomes wet.

Read more

This item is wet-surface approved! Both the upper and outsole perform with a combining effort to give us the most in grip when the surface would, otherwise, feel slippery. This brings safety, and along with it, we gain emotional security.

In addition to rain readiness, as it were, this footwear has reflective elements which allow us to run in the early morning or late evening. This is befitting of a product which centers around safety.

Many items perform well when the sun is out and shining, the birds are singing, and the day is glorious, per se. But not many products are ready for a rainy day, as it were. These are, and we love that!

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Style

In 2018, we saw all kinds of various styles from nearly every genre of footwear imaginable. This includes running shoes, and loudly so. Colors, to be more exact, were bright and loud in the design, as were the way each color was initiated for accenting. Color some overlays and maybe the heel counter, and wah-lah, we have a lovely design which sets us apart from the others around us.

A bright green, for example, may highlight the part where the upper and outsole join. This design feature in style adds personality, distinctively. In other words, wearing a pair like this announces to the world that we are here to run, and to do so, proudly; albeit, if we didn’t get to choose the coloring ourselves. The sense of individuality still exist.

Moving forward throughout the year, we begin to witness a changeover from this plethora of colorful pleasure, so to speak. Color begins to lighten into the realm of a solid white. The reason behind this change is so the buyer can personalize to their own specifications. It is much easier to personalize a solid color than an item which might even make some clowns blush.

After all, there is nothing new about adorning footwear with decorative attachments. And for those of us who can remember the 1980’s, we loved to use glitter and a magic marker or two to further this ornamental and non-functional, artistic design. All we needed were shoes having a solid color. And as it stands now, this is what we can come to expect, for the 2019 year, if this current trend of color changing holds.

Features

Features are in relation to what makes the item perform at its best. Well, at least in theory, anyway. On the best of days, all of the features imaginable are readily available for the product in which we are examining. And although this is sometimes the case, alas, it does not happen quite as much as we would like.

For running shoes, we want to make certain that the correct features are in place for the specific style in which the design aims. For example, a product having features for long-distance running, but is equipped with short-distance elements, falls short of its target design. Therefore, this score decreases astronomically, as it should.

Similarly, should an item claim to reduce impact during heel strike, yet your heels are killing you after a run from lack of cushioning, well then, this score drops. Claims should be backed by truth and not used as a selling point to gain an audience which is, otherwise, not in play. Moreover, there are many more elements which must be evaluated and examined, in addition to these small few mentioned.

Overall, as long as a product contains the features for what it is aiming at, the score will remain relatively high. And when it is all said and done, this is the kind of scoring we need, or at the very least, the kind of scoring hoped for. If the features are present, so are the points!

Overall Fit

For the overall fit, we consider how well the shoe cradles to the foot while standing, during a stride, and upon landing. There should be minimal movement inside of the footwear (preferably, none) during the exercise of this wonderful sport. No one desires to be sidelined, due to an ankle becoming twisted or something potentially even worse.

If movement exists outside of healthy parameters, then injuries are more likely to occur. As such, we take the overall fit seriously, as nothing should trump health. Unhealthy feet can’t run, and there is no excuse for injuries related to poorly-fitting footwear; at least, not from the product itself. A proper fit in the heel, toe box, arch. and ankle area should always be a given. Sadly, it is not.

Sizing is an issue we face all too much, as well. With manufacturers being located in different areas of the world, size may be measurable locally and not globally. As such, we find that sizing changes among various companies in a frequent manner. Also, different manufacturers seem to define a certain size differently than the next. This is why we find some brands run small on us while others run large.

Finally, after we gain the perfect fit for our individual feet, if there is odd shaping at the toe box, heel, and etc., the overall fit may be an all-out bust. That is, there are times when an item fits correctly in all areas but one. This is a considerable oversight which does occur. When this happens, the score drops.

Effectiveness

In the term of effectiveness, we examine the functionality. We want an item that performs optimally when employed correctly. In layman’s terms, we assume testing prior to release is a practice the manufacturer pursues. Furthermore, this testing should be done by professionals and experts in the genre; thereby, the correct data can be received to make changes as needed.

This practice not only ensures a great fit but increases the possibilities of performance, as well. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case with each type of product we examine. After all, if everyone did this, functionality would always carry a high score with every type of footwear imaginable. As sad as it is, this is not quite as frequent as it should be.

At the same time, we must examine the claims by the manufacturer. For instance, if a product presents itself as being resistant to water, do the socks become wet when we run through a small puddle? If so, why? Is it because we have misused the item and, therefore, have weakened it in any way? Maybe, we have misunderstood the usage of the product. More times than not, in this particular scenario, the product is at fault and not that of the consumer.

Luckily, we do find that functionality remains a high priority among most of the well-known brand names in the running world. And if the item functions well, then the number reflects that, accordingly. Just as with many things in our world, there are those who make excellent quality and those that do not.

Value

For running footwear, product pricing remains relatively high, as a general rule. Add to this a specific design, such as an item specific to long distance, and the price can rise even further. In addition, brand names will affect the outcome of pricing; as well as, shipping and other factors.

Generally speaking, the more technology we find within an object, the more costly it is to produce. Within this regard, the running world is no different. Because of this, the safety of our feet and the health, thereof, comes down to the funds we can afford. It is a frustrating, yet obvious truth. Cut a penny to save, and a potential onslaught of injuries during a run is certain to rise.

In addition, value sits in the realm of practicality. If we are beginners in the sport, then we may not understand the final avenue in which we may end up. That is, are we to become long-distance runners, sprinters, obstacle course racers, and so on? In this, there is no need for us to be specific until we do know. But for those of us already in a specific field, then the value is according to the specifics in our respective genre.

Once we have all of these elements in mind, we can better choose the best value for us. This is not a guarantee that we will get it perfect every single time out. But it is a guarantee that the more we learn, the more likely we are to make an informed decision. Experience and some knowledge can go a long way in helping us to become better at finding those grand values we may be searching for.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Sources

  1. Michele Marin, 21 Shoe Styles..., Article,
  2. si.com staff, BestSshoes for Obstacle Races..., Article,
  3. Mike St. Laurent, Running Shoe Guide for Dummies, Article,
  4. Kelvin Tan, The Latest Running Shoe Trend This Year, Article,